The University of Colorado Boulder Police Department on Thursday will give out free catalytic converter anti-theft etching kits to help Boulder County residents protect themselves against theft.
The anti-theft kits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, according to a news release from the CU Boulder Police Department. People driving to the event should enter Kittredge Loop off of Regent Drive and follow signs to the pick-up location on the south side of Fiske Planetarium.
The kits come with instructions to show people where a catalytic converter is located and how to affix and register the etched decal along with a window sticker to let any possible thieves know the vehicle’s catalytic converter is labeled and connected to a law enforcement database for easier identification and recovery, the release said.
The event is a partnership between the campus police department, the Boulder Police Department and the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority to help residents combat catalytic converter theft, the release stated. A catalytic converter is an emissions control device installed on a car’s exhaust system. The part, which looks like small muffler and is about the size of a toaster, is a target for theft because it contains highly sought-after metals such as rhodium, palladium and platinum. Platinum alone can cost up to $800 per used catalytic converter, the release stated. Vehicle owners whose catalytic converters are stolen can expect to pay about $2,000 in replacement costs.
Catalytic converters thefts in Colorado skyrocketed by 5,091% from 2019 to 2021, according to the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority. In 2019, there were 189 reports of converter thefts; 1,153 in 2020; and 9,811 in 2021.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said claims filed for stolen catalytic converters shot up 325% from 2019 to 2020.
According to Boulder police records on catalytic converter theft, from January 2021 to June 2022, vehicle models that were mostly targeted for their catalytic converters included Toyota Prius, Honda Element, Honda CRV, Toyota 4Runner and Honda Accord, particularly model years 2005 through 2009.